New data shows Americans using more than 30 percent of income on rent | Five for the Weekend

At the county level, 239 or 7.6 percent of the nation’s 3,143 counties, had a median housing cost ratio for renters above 30 percent

By: - December 10, 2022 6:30 am

Row home facades on a residential street off Germantown Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Happy weekend, all. 

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau is shedding light on the cost of housing across the country.

According to the most recent American Community Survey, conducted from 2017-2021, more than 40 percent (19 million) of renter households in the country spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs over the same period.

At the county level, 239 or 7.6 percent of the nation’s 3,143 counties, had a median housing cost ratio for renters above 30 percent.

The U.S. median household income from 2017-2021 was $69,021. In the United States, adjusted for inflation to 2021 dollars, the median household income increased 10.5 percent from $62,460 in 2012-2016.

“We’ve heard for a while now that incomes were not keeping up with the increased cost of housing,” Molly Cromwell, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Housing Statistics Branch, said. “With the most recent data, we can see just how many households were burdened by the cost of their housing.”

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

Pennsylvania Senate Chambers. Source: WikiMedia Commons

1. Special election to replace Senate Republican scheduled for Jan. 31

A special election to replace a Pennsylvania Senate Republican who turned in his resignation on Wednesday will take place on Jan. 31.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen.-elect John Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor, signed a writ declaring a special election to replace Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, who will become counsel to interim Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland. The winner will serve for the remainder of Gordner’s term, which ends in 2024.

“The new position will allow me to take full advantage of my 30-year legislative experience in the House and Senate, as well as my 35 years of being an attorney,” Gordner said in a statement on Monday.

Torn dollar bill; frowning George Washington
Why so sad, George? (Image by
Chuck Savage/Getty Images/The Conversation).

2. Jobs are up. Wages are up. So why is this economist so gloomy? | Opinion

In any other time, the jobs news that came down on Dec. 2, 2022, would be reason for cheer.

The U.S. added 263,000 nonfarm jobs in November, leaving the unemployment rate at a low 3.7%. Moreover, wages are up – with average hourly pay jumping 5.1% compared with a year earlier.

So why am I not celebrating? Oh, yes: inflation.

(Image via The Philadelphia Gay News)

3. Senate same-sex marriage vote still a step on long road toward full justice | John L. Micek

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this week’s U.S. Senate vote codifying protections for same-sex and interracial marriage as both a triumph of bipartisanship and fundamental decency.

It’s also difficult to overstate, sadly, how much further we have to go to ensure full equality for LGBTQ Americans.

First, the good news.

Pa. House Majority Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, meets the press after Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday, 2/4/2020 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

4. With no majority in the Pa. House, Democrats and Republicans are fighting over who calls the shots

Foreshadowing contentious times to come, Democrats and Republicans in the evenly-divided state House sparred Thursday over who has the power to call a special election for a vacant seat in western Pennsylvania.

Caucus leaders took umbrage at each others’ positions on the unusual circumstances stemming from the Republicans’ loss of 13 seats in the general election, and the death of an incumbent Democrat putting the party one vote short of a majority.

Then Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro addressed supporters at campaign event on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

5. Shapiro transition team pulls in experience from Democratic and Republican administrations

A onetime law partner of Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro, who served in Democratic and Republican gubernatorial administrations, will lead Shapiro’s transition team.

Shapiro on Tuesday announced William R. Sasso, a GOP power broker and former chairperson of the Philadelphia law firm Stradley Ronon will be chairperson of the incoming administration’s 11-member transition leadership board

It includes representatives of organized labor, industry and health care to prepare to advance Shapiro’s priorities of growing the state’s economy, improving public safety and expanding public education opportunities.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.